Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday is Saturday; how about singing ‘This Land Is Your Land’ to mark it?

The 15th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival opens tomorrow in the singer-songwriter’s hometown of Okemah, Okla., and it will be a special one, running through the 100th anniversary of his birth on Saturday, July 14.

The Woody Guthrie Centennial website says, “His songs have run around the world like a fast train on a well oiled track. They’ve become the folk song standards of the nation, known and performed in many languages throughout the world. Pretty Boy Floyd,Pastures of PlentyHard Travelin’DeporteesRoll On Columbia,Vigilante Man and This Land Is Your Land are among the hundreds of his songs that have become staples in the canon of American music.”

You know what I’d like to hear on Saturday? The crowd at a Major League Baseball park singing “this Land is Your Land,” which is an aspirational anthem, not a celebratory one, as “The Star-Spangled Banner” is. We need to celebrate, but we also need to be a nation of shared aspirations. “This Land” would be especially appropriate at Yankee Stadium, next to “the New York island,” and in the city where Guthrie, who died in 1967, lived longest. But it sounds good anywhere. Sing it on Saturday!

Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog.  Article written by Al Cross for The Rural Blog. Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.

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